Revenant by Kat Richardson

First and foremost, I refuse to accept that this is the end of the series. As an end to the arc, it’s perfectly servicable and plenty interesting. As the end of the books all together, no.

This time, Harper ends up going to Portugal to deal with Purlis and one of Carlos’ old enemies. The whole story revolved largely around Carlos instead of either Harper or Quinton, getting into how he became a vampire in the first place and taking a look at his sordid past while trying to stop the bone mages from bringing forth a dragon that would destabalize Europe.

I’m against it as an end to the series mostly because it revolves around a secondary character rather than our lead. I still have plenty of questions about Quinton and Harper to be answered,1 and instead the book goes off about the vampire who was the crutch for the first bit of the series. While it was nice to have some more Carlos and get a bit more information on him, as the final book in a series is not where I’d want it.

I could probably also do without any more Carlos/Harper moments ever. The dialogue between the two felt very off somehow and this whole Carlos thinking Harper is the best thing ever that he would also like to have sex with turned out to be really awkward more than anything else. I don’t know what to make of it, but I felt like it probably could have been cut.

Quinton, on the other hand, only brought up friendship once! It was awful and then the issue finally dropped. At last. I hope that when the series continues,2 that never comes up again. Ever. It’s my least liked subplot in anything I’ve read recently and I really didn’t want it handled so directly in a book about adults. None of these sounded like conversations I’ve had with other people. No more of them.

I was actually really surprised that so little of the book ended up being about Quinton or Purlis. It might have been his organization, but for all he was built up, Purlis didn’t actually do much in the book. He delegated the torture to someone else. He might have caught Harper initially, but she kept getting passed off to the bone mages. He kind of reacted to the soul link in that he felt it now and then when Harper got injured, but so little was about Quinton and Purlis that I was kind of disappointed when he was taken care of at the end.

Speaking of, I can’t wait for Quinton and Harper to finally be married because it means that everyone stops saying spouse-in-soul or coming up with other married-not-married terms for them. When they elope3 then we can get back to everything back to being about Harper nearly getting killed and saving her damsel of a husband.4

I think that’s most of why I’m a bit unsatisfied at this point. I thought that this was the end of the series, but there’s so much left unresolved. The epilogue consisted of a lot of telling about what happened to the smattering of characters, left out a bunch of other characters, and we get the answer to a marriage proposal. I don’t even get a dose of ferret in the book when Chaos5 has appeared in literally every other one. I don’t know what happens to her.

Still, there were good parts too. I did like meeting Quinton’s sister and her kids. And it was nice to see the Danzingers again one last time, even if we only get to see them the once. Mara even got to do something and give us a nice reminder of how far Harper has come. The magic, again, was nicely done6 and it didn’t wait until the half way point to pick up the pace. When things were moving, they were fantastic and there were a lot of little subplots and research that were interesting.

It’s just not a final book. Labyrinth was a final book. It was about Harper, about being a Greywalker and about what her role was in the story. This was the end of a story arc where Carlos stepped in and helped save the day again with a “Stay Tuned for More Adventures!” at the end.

I’m going to hold out hope for a new book and a new arc one of these days. I liked the series and I want a proper conclusion to it eventually. I’m just going to have to think of Revenant as a book that ended on a “To be continued…” for now and hope that eventually there is more.

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  1. And a desire to have Harper dance as a plot point because for how often I’m told about it, I’m almost never shown []
  2. And for all my complaining, I do hope it does []
  3. You know that’s how it will go down []
  4. Who still needs to get beat up so bad that Harper comes to his rescue. Why has this not happened yet? []
  5. The ferret []
  6. Even if that bone swapping was very convenient []

Possession by Kat Richardson

In Possession, it is some time later and Harper’s rib is no longer cracked. She is approached by a woman whose sister may or may not be possessed by a ghost, which leads her to several people dealing with the fear of insurance agencies and their own comatose family members who are also exhibiting strange behaviours which turn out to ultimately be the doing of a god that I’ve never heard of1 and Quinton’s dad. Kind of.

This book was odd in that I was expecting something more along book 4. In Vanished, everything drove the story toward the climax of the first arc and this one felt like it was more setup for that inevitable climax-building novel. I think this was mostly due to Quinton being completely removed from most of the narrative because he was off playing spy or having spats with Harper while she was still debating whether or not she was being a good friend/lover/etc.2

I also kind of want to smack Quinton. This friendship thing has gone on long enough. It might be because I’m still remembering the soul link in the back of my head while I’m reading all this and he’s picking up on nothing, or it’s the fact that he seems to be off dealing with the main plot and having adventures I’d like to see while Harper is dealing with what feels like a B plot, but the fact that he has taken himself out of the majority of the novel annoyed the hell out of me.

And let’s talk a little about that main plot. In the main plot that we don’t get to see, Purlis stalks Harper and they have one altercation before we stop seeing him for a while. He has apparently brought a goddess of hunger out of Europe and to Seattle, as well as opened up a facility where he experiments on the paranormal. We are told that these experiments are awful, but see precisely none of them.3 We never see what his ultimate goal is either, but Quinton instead tells us that he’s out to make the US the most powerful country in the world and make the rest of the world bow to it. He’s a super villain.

He’s also constantly referred to as “Papa Purlis” which would have annoyed me if Harper didn’t also call him “Daddy Purlis” at some point. Harper, you are in your thirties. You don’t like the guy, just call him by his last name. It’s really just that easy. Just because you’re kind of magically married to Quinton doesn’t mean you have to refer to him as your father in law every time you mention him.

I did enjoy the Harper plot line, though, once it picked up at the 50% mark of the book. The pieces fell into place and, if I didn’t know this was the second to last book in the series, it would have been a lot of fun seeing her dealing with the ghosts who haunted her personally.4 The mechanics of the hauntings and going through old Seattle and Pike Market’s history were great elements and I liked the idea of the big bad of Harper’s plot being Lizzy Hazzard riding the tail of a famine god.

Really, most of my issues with the book stem directly from the fact that I know it’s the second to last book and it’s not directly building up to that climax. I realize this time, the central point of the conflict is probably going to be Quinton rather than Harper so it makes sense that he’s the one having plot-related adventures, but that just made his absence in the book that much more evident.

I think I might need a Quinton side story of just this book. He did end up strapped to a chair by his father and he was about to be fed to a god before his girlfriend showed up. We never really did find out what any of that was about, only that it ended with Purlis getting shot in the leg and Quinton being very nice to him in getting him to a hospital for the not at all life threatening injury. I don’t really get what happened there, because the dialogue all felt forced and the scene felt like things needed to happen so they happened as opposed to the characters acting of their own accord.

I also need a Cam book. Now that I have solid confirmation that Edward is dead and Cam is now the reigning king of the vampires in Seattle, I want to know how that happened and how he came to own this strange house by the sea that he’s living in. Really, I just want to know a lot about what happens with the vampires at this point because I feel like a lot of stuff was skipped.

There was also the weird religious bit at the end. Apparently there was an angel that healed them all at the end of the story. Or maybe it was a ghost, except that ghosts don’t do that as near as I can tell. It was such a strange moment of needing everything to end happily that I’m not really sure what the point of it was. Harper isn’t carrying injuries into the next books anymore, so that wasn’t why it happened. The other characters effected were side characters. Is it to bring a religious aspect into the book near the end? Will it somehow be plot relevant? Will it be thematically relevant?

I’m thinking it was probably for the happy ending and a clean wrap up before the end of book hook into the final installment. Here’s hoping it all wraps up nicely at the end of Revenant!

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  1. And therefore Harper could not Google []
  2. The subplot just won’t die. []
  3. Even when they go into the facility. ow hard would it have been to just have them walk past a window and see a screaming vampire with a sun spot pointed somewhere on him and his intestines on the table next to him? The room could be sound proof. It would have added some nice atmosphere. []
  4. Although still no idea what was with the black ghosts vs any of the other ones. []

Seawitch by Kat Richardson

So Seawitch is both about a boat named Seawitch and about an actual sea witch. Harper has to find out what happened to an old boat that washes up on shore because apparently the Guardian Beast has taken on the role of paranormal boss man now, and teams up with Solis to do it.

This series is a very different one from the first five books. I’m really noticing that the mysteries are easier to figure out, even if they are a bit more twisted in family politics than before. Perhaps this is how it always was but now I’m reading those explanatory sections that I dislike more1 but I feel like all the portions about the mystery are being handed to me.2

On the other hand, Solis gets a whole family and backstory. I love Solis now. He is my favourite.

I don’t get the soul bond thing. Is it just emotions? It manifested as being able to feel Quinton’s physical pain initially, but now it seems to only reflect his emotions when they are in a mid-range and she’s not looking directly at him. And he’s not feeling any effects as near as I can tell. I’ve taken to assuming he’s hiding it to keep Harper from worrying, but I’m still hoping for a little more on it than being used as a plot device in the last book.3

We have to talk about this friendship thing that keeps coming up. Yes, Harper does tend to use her friends as resources and probably should have lost a lot of them after putting them in that much danger in the first five books, but maybe stop harping on the “How do I be a good friend? I don’t know how to friend!” subplot? Quinton keeps bringing it up and Harper keeps talking about it in ways that are a little too on the nose to sound real. It sounds like an after school special and I’m really hoping it’s not an important plot point.

And now, Tanya complaining about the technology in the Greywalker series:

Also, can we cut Harper some slack on going to her friends, who are a legitimate witch4 and a paranormal researcher, for help on dobar-chu,5 which is a term I have never even heard of before and have no idea if I’m spelling right? She found minimal information from looking them up online and they are resources that probably know more about it than the online databases that she can access with her probably incorrect spelling.

I am super happy that Harper is trying to do some Google. I like that she’d trying to look things up on her own. It’s just also fine if she also gets some more information from her friends who probably know more than she does and know more about what’s accurate.

Back to our regularly scheduled book talk.

The series is definitely progressing toward some big confrontation with Quinton’s father, but the book is feeling a lot like the mysteries are getting easier. Everything just wraps up so neatly at the end and I`m left wondering if this could be better if it were written without the case and just the main arc happening. I mean, it would be shorter, but it might make it feel more like the previous iterations.

Also, I still don’t know if Edward’s alive. I know next to nothing about what happened at the end of the fifth book still. I also don’t know how much time has passed anymore. Before, she busted her knee one book and that injury carried over into the next, but I’m wondering if this cracked rib is going to stick around. These books feel like they won’t have that anymore.

I mean, they’re still fun. I think I got spoiled by the fourth and fifth ones in how quick they all happened and how much they focused on Harper and the plot that a return to the old formula feels like a bit of a step backwards.

Two more left. Here’s hoping everything rapidly picks up!

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  1. Or that they’re being better integrated into the text so it’s not all in one massive dump []
  2. Oh, he saw the girl? Well, she’s probably still alive and a sea witch. Gary is some mythical creature that is super rare and looks like that thing the other character saw? Guess who’s not dying right now! []
  3. And it better damn well be used a plot device for all the emphasis that’s being put on it. []
  4. An Irish one at that []
  5. Big Irish otters that can talk? []

Downpour by Kat Richardson

Downpour is odd in that it feels like there was a long break between writing this one and Labyrinth. I get no answers to the lingering questions that were left at the end Labyrinth. I have no idea what’s happening with the Seattle vampires, or if Edward is even still alive. Undead. The book answers little to nothing left behind, and I’m kind of okay with it.

More than that, though, there’s a lot more that feels different about this one. While there are callbacks to previous things from other books, such as the feather from Underground, the rest of the prose feels a bit like she was asked to continue the series after having completed it it and there’s a bit of a different direction being taken. She references an event I am actually familiar with in the shoes washing up on shore1 and an actual sex scene that I will get into later that does not cut away with a euphemism. Also, guess what time it is?

And now, Tanya complaining about the technology in the Greywalker series:

On the one hand, there’s technology at last that actually seems relevant to the era it’s taking place in. She has a laptop!2 She goes to a place that believably doesn’t have wifi and complains about old computers! She loses cell reception and gets it back!

She also tries to convince me that this technology was there all along, but no. I’m sorry. I read the previous books. You cannot convince me that Harper had the internet before she left for London. It is great that she’s updated and the technology is well integrated and fails in a believable way for the story, but you really can’t tell me that it was always there.

Back to our regularly scheduled book talk.

Rather than continuing from last time, we’re back to usual form. There’s a new case that brings Harper out of Seattle and into a long time mage feud in a summer tourist town that’s mostly abandoned for the colder months.The formula is back to normal as well: 50% setup, 48% rising action, climax in the last 15-20 pages, then an epilogue that is almost entirely told rather than shown.

There was some show in this epilogue, though, which is really nice. I’d prefer these ending wrap ups being exposited as dialogue instead of these info-dumps but it’s a step in a good direction. I care a lot more this way.

I knew pretty much immediately who did it. The story follows Harper trying to figure out which of these mages around the lake is supposed to be in charge and how to put the lines of the Grey back in place, essentially, and the person who did it was never in question for me. I don’t know if it’s because I’m good at the murder mystery thing or because it wasn’t subtle.3

But since the last overarching plot is now finished, we need a new one, and I have a feeling I know what it will be relating to. See, there was a scene in this book. Quinton has cleaned up and looks like a stereotypical tech guy now. He comes by and tells Harper about how he turned himself over to the feds and had to do a little work for them. And that he called his father and he has living family he’s just never mentioned before. There’s a break where they fight zombies in the middle, but then it’s right back to talk about Quinton’s mysterious past.

And then they have plot-relevant sex. Like, immediately after. And by plot relevant, I mean that apparently having sex in the right spot makes you soul-bound to the person and that now Harper and Quinton can feel one another’s pain.4 And by sex, I mean there’s is a scene involving fluids and arching backs and everything. After all the euphemisms and cutaways, it was jarring and felt like it came out of a different series. But it was plot relevant!

I’m guessing the next arc is going to have to do with Quinton because of this. Otherwise, this whole bit was completely unnecessary. Not that there hasn’t been u necessary in the series, but with the change in everything else, it seems like it’s a lot narratively tighter and that there won’t be as much meandering as there might have been previously.

Oh. And the plot was nifty too. I would have liked a little more of the Chinese demons and a little less of the man with the fox bride, but it was fun.5

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  1. Because that happened here. Like, it was a thing that really happened here. []
  2. That I don’t think she ever uses. []
  3. I doubt the former. []
  4. Which doesn’t come up in this book, but I’m hoping for a future plot where Quinton gets mangled and Harper has to save him. []
  5. Also hella predictable. I get the feeling the mystery is no longer the important thing. And I am cool with that. []

Labyrinth by Kat Richardson

Have I mentioned some of this Grey stuff is getting a little convoluted? Because it’s getting a little out of hand.

Harper lands back in Seattle and gets pretty much no time to rest before the plot kicks back in. Instead of going home to rest, she immediately goes to see Edward, which I assume is for plot reasons because she’s apparently already exhausted and has decided this is a good idea instead of sleeping. In doing so, she trips over some plot and we end up moving along really quickly after that.

The fact that stuff just keeps happening and the pace of this book is a lot faster than the other ones is explained as a way to keep Harper off balance. She’s out of her apartment pretty quickly and crashing in the Dazinger’s basement soon after. She’s falling deeper into the Grey, which means she’s hearing voices and  She’s also worried about being followed but appears to still be driving her own car around, but I can let that slide. Maybe the astem are as bad with identifying cars as I am as another one of their weaknesses.

The progressive falling into the Grey over the book is really nicely handled. It’s both slow and alarming, coming in waves at sometimes too plot-relevant moments, but these moments all work well. We need her capable, after all, to continue going through the story and having her own agency and desire to stop the plan of the Pharaohn1 and her slowly losing her grip is fantastic.

The plot is now made clear once Harper eventually gets into the labyrinth of the Grey and manages to speak to the ghost of her father who has been trapped by Wygan2 for all eternity for failing him before. Apparently this whole thing is a setup, with Harper being pushed into the Grey so that Wygan can somehow unleash the Grey into reality and cause chaos. I think.

My favourite scene in the whole book happens related to this. There’s a point where Harper just can’t take the voices anymore and she’s falling into the Grey and thrashing around. Quinton needs to stop her because she’s hurting herself so he ends up using a stunner to electrocute her. It works and she’s out for a few minutes, waking to quiet, but Quinton is just scarred from ever having to do that to her. It’s fantastic.

Oh, and also Will is back. He’s suffering from the effects of being kidnapped and tortured by vampires in London and I still don’t care about him, even though he insists on continuing to be part of this story. His eventual arc ends in what feels like a way to just get rid of him while letting the other characters not have to suffer. Also he’s been beating up his brother probably, but we never actually touch on that.

There’s also Bryson Goodall, whose arc doesn’t make much sense to me. He’s a human who was later turned into a thing by Wygan to essentially be his servant. Bryson had some abilities or powers of his own before he started, which Harper realizes and is curious about for all of two chapters before that’s no longer important, but he’s supposed to serve Wygan’s purposes. In the end you find out that he doesn’t actually do that. He’s supposed to bring Harper to Wygan, but in the end you find out he was trying to murder her instead. That, and he murdered her father before he could serve Wygan’s purposes.3 The fact that he was murdering everyone seems like such a strange thing to throw in at the end and it’s not resolved by the end, so what the hell?

And now, Tanya complaining about the internet in the Greywalker series:

You know, it’s 2009 and you have a guy with mysterious powers in this Bryson Goodall. You could probably hop on the internet, check to see if he has a Facebook account with family connected since this was back before privacy settings were a convoluted mess, and maybe call up his estranged sibling and ask if he ever maybe ever did anything weird as a kid? Might help you out a little? No? Internet still doesn’t exist? Okay then. I’ll be graduating from my technology degree right across the border from you, then.

And then Quinton goes and Googles something and I am ecstatic. I’ve mentally replaced every instance of “Palmtop” with “Netbook” and Quinton has become my technological salvation.4 Harper even mentions email. I am so happy.

Back to our regularly scheduled book talk.

There was a lot of plot in this book and a lot of old threads being wrapped up. Much of this book took elements established in previous ones and brought them back and finished it off. Some of it seemed a little convoluted, but in the end it all felt like it fit together well. Not entirely cleanly, but well. If this book were the one to finish off the series, I’d be happy about it.

But it’s not. And that is great.

Of course, a word on the ending. That ending was fantastic in regards to characters suffering and I can’t wait for the next one. This is the last book I’ve read and, now that this has been written, I’m off to the next one. Downpour, here I come!

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  1. That stupid n. Ugh, why?! []
  2. I can’t keep doing the Pharaohn thing. I just can’t. His name is Wygan. []
  3. Which is brushed aside, but there’s good reason for that, so that’s fine. []
  4. Thank you for probably rigging up Harper’s apartment with internet while she was in London. I OWE YOU, QUESTIONABLY HOMED INTERNET JESUS. []

Vanished by Kat Richardson

This book starts out with Harper looking into her past in Los Angeles, which is an interesting look at her history. As it turns out, her Greywalker abilities were from her father and he killed himself after not being able to handle this whole seeing ghosts business. Also, Harper had died once before the start of the series! There are a lot of little relevations, but we don’t get to linger on them for too long.

Before going on, I want to make a note on Harper’s mother. Being in dance myself as a kid, I have seen those mothers and there is nothing I question about Harper’s mother. This is exactly how some of them were, and I wasn’t even one of the kids who went to auditions. It’s uncanny how much she reminded me of some of the women in those change rooms during competitions.

Harper is called away to London, partially because Edward1 needs someone to check on what’s going on over there and partially because Will Novak insists on being in the plot again. She’s been dreaming of him being tortured and wants to check it out. Not to mention, the ghosts keep bringing up something ominous. After a quick visit with Quinton, she’s across the ocean and getting stalked by another Greywalker named Marsden and finding out that everything has gone awful because Egyptian vampires really want Harper.

Yeah, this book gets a little weird.

Let’s start with Marsden, the other Greywalker. He’s wonderful. He’s the grizzled old man who would have been Harper’s first mentor that eventually softened her her as she realized her potential if he came around earlier in the series. He gouged out his own eyes to get rid of his ability to see the Grey, but that didn’t work and now he’s trying to make sure the Pharaohn2 doesn’t get Harper if he has to half-kill or indefinitely imprison her himself. When she eventually wins him over, he lets us all know that the reason Harper’s so good at her job is because she’s magic.

Apparently Harper is magically persuasive. Now that she knows this, she is immediately able to use this unconscious ability consciously.3

The Egyptian vampires have their own name, the astem, which appear to be magical vampires that are slower. Their whole goal in this is a little muddled for a while, but they need Harper to achieve their end goals. They work for a reference to the first book and a scene that felt like it came out of nowhere when it happened. Apparently this whole time it’s been building to this eventual plot, which I really like. I just wish it was more cohesive in the first place. Also, that the astem did or indicated in any way that they were significantly different from other vampires.

Then there’s Michael. Michael is Will Novak’s little brother and serves the purpose of guide and provider for the series, given that he’s the one who gets them all of their getaway vehicles and knows his way around the city. He’s along for this whole ride because, despite being perfectly normal, his brother has been replaced with a golem and he didn’t notice. And then Harper carves the fake Will up in front of him and Michael reacts a lot better to that than Will did to the zombie thing. I actually don’t mind the kid because I never found him too invasive and he was there just for the purposes that the plot needed him for.4

They also call Edward Ned a few times in the book, which…

VoKR0LG

Well, let’s just say I don’t take Edward, the vampire king of Seattle all that seriously anymore.

And now, Tanya complaining about Google in the Greywalker series:

WHAT DO YOU MEAN 2009?! It is not allowed to be 2009.

Okay. Step back. Let me explain why telling me what year it is in this story is such an awful idea.

It’s pretty obvious this story was written several years before this date from the usage of technology. Putting a concrete date on it, especially a date when I was alive and can still remember fairly well, means that I know what technology was at the time. I remember what it could do and what was available. Harper being a PI and not looking up anything is an issue in 2009 because, in 2001, I was able to use Google to take someone’s forum username and turn it into their real name, home address, work address and work schedule. If you track people down and do background checks as part of your job, this is a skill you should have. And in 2009, never turning on your computer to look anything up is jarring.

Particularly when you have a kid in your party who is a student that never thinks to at least Wikipedia what a golem is. He may not have a computer on him, but that doesn’t mean he’s not going to bitch about the lack of internet anyway at least once.

Back to our regularly scheduled book talk.

I do love plot. Plot and characters suffering are my two favourite things. With this installment, I feel like I’ve gotten a lot of both with even more on the way. While it was nice to have Harper out of her element, I like that I’m left wondering about the larger implications of what’s going on and what this is all building up to. I also really like that it’s tying back into everything else that’s going happened in previous books.

And a quick word on Harper/Quinton. I live that she’s not falling apart without him. I love that she’s calling him now and then when she’s feeling like she needs some support, but not angsting when he doesn’t call her back right away. The relationship continued to seem really healthy, and that always seems very rare in these urban fantasy novels with female protagonists. The romance isn’t even the focus of the series, which has left me very happy.

It’s also left me really wanting to know what’s next. I could not wait for Labyrinth.

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  1. From book one. He’s essentially the king of the vampires in Seattle and owns a very large business, so he’s loaded. []
  2. Yes with the n. I hate that n. []
  3. Nope. Doesn’t bother me at all. Not one tiny bit. Nope. []
  4. Also so that the dead woman in the statue could check out his butt. []

Underground by Kat Richardson

First and foremost, Will Novak is out of the picture! YAY! You didn’t have a personality, so I’m not going to miss you now that you’re gone! Also, apparently the quickest way to make a guy dump you is to reach into a zombie and rip it apart with your bare hands in front of him. Good information for you all.

It’s about bodies that show up in the Underground, which is where Seattle’s homeless live, and those bodies belong largely to Seattle’s homeless population. As it turns out, there’s also a monster that is eating people that is not a vampire.

This story strikes me as interesting in that it’s about the homeless population of Seattle and it seems a lot less judgmental or preachy about the situation. Quinton is among the population, though has converted a forgotten room under some stairs into a bachelor1 and is there willingly because he wanted to drop off the grid. Others are there for a variety of reasons and there’s never this push for them to get a job or that they’re a scourge on society, nor is there a message that they are all these poor unfortunates that should be pitied for their situation. Everyone is a person in a rough situation and it’s nice.

Speaking of Quinton, guess who’s ship just became canon!2 I am a little iffy on the timing, but I’m a lot happier with this relationship because he’s much more on her level with the magic stuff. he can’t do any of it, but he can come up with logic about it based on his own experiences and he’s not going to absolutely refuse it. They can talk and communicate about the important things going on in their lives, which makes this a far more healthy relationship.

The eventual monster is not vampires, though the vampires are still very much a presence in the book. Instead it’s something a little more local. There’s a nice use of Native American mythology in the story as well as Native characters. I have no idea how accurate any of it is, but I do wonder if Harper will continue to use feathers in her arsenal in the future. That one seemed incredibly useful.

And then the story gave me a year. Don’t say 2005. Harper just got a flip phone.3 She doesn’t appear to know what the internet is, despite it being her job to be an information broker of sorts. It just can’t be 2005. If it were, I’d be seriously questioning why she doesn’t at the very least google4 the name “JJ Purlis” before asking her boyfriend about his top secret past and taking it completely at face value. Is it because you want to [insert cheesy sex euphemism here] with him?

Come to think of it, Harper hasn’t done a single background check on a boyfriend yet. The woman, who works as a PI and apparently has a history of rough boyfriends, not at least looking up something to make sure her potential mates don’t have a violent crime history or personal attachment to a previous case she worked on at the very least strikes me as weird. Then again, I have googled my friends’ dates to make sure they aren’t crazy before they go out with them. If I continue to assume this takes place in a world before Google,5 I can kind of forgive it.

Guess who isn’t there for the climax this time! That’s right, no calling in Carlos! Instead she nearly gets a Dazinger killed, but you knew he wouldn’t die.6 She handles this one pretty much on her own, which was exactly what I wanted to see.

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  1. That may or may not have a washroom, I legitimately don’t remember []
  2. Mine. It’s my ship. []
  3. I assume it’s a flip phone. []
  4. Or Yahoo! []
  5. And assume that 2005 was a typo []
  6. If he did, she couldn’t call up Mara to constantly ask about magical stuff! []

Poltergeist by Kat Richardson

This one was so much better than the last one. There was a focus to the whole thing and not nearly as much of this things happening because they needed to happen. There was a much better balance struck between the case and everything else happening in Harper’s personal life. It’s also nice to know that she does have friends, though at this point, I wondered if those were one off characters.

This time around, Harper is trying dealing with an experiment at a local university where they have accidentally made a poltergeist that is now killing people in the group that created it. It’s an interesting concept and there is an actual mystery in it because she is trying to figure out who did it without using a lot of physical evidence because the murder weapon is a ghost made by the group that leaves no trace.

You know what helps this book a lot? There is only one case. The jumping back and forth was what made the last book such a mess, and there’s none of that now. It read more like a mystery than the last one and I was actually trying to figure out who did it by the end of the book.1

What doesn’t help is the thing I don’t like about mystery novels. There are always sections of it where the protagonist steps back and thinks through the facts, putting together the clues in a way that makes sense. These monologues need to happen, but they always throw me in a story and I find myself tuning out despite these arguably being the most important parts. They always feel like recaps and I’ve just read that in full detail several pages ago. Why didn’t you tell me this then, even though you had absolutely no reason to put it together until right now?2

The magic of the series is getting explained to a bit of a strange degree, though. There’s always something that makes me nervous about doing that because there’s too much opportunity to write yourself into a corner and have to completely break your own rules about your universe in order to make the story continue to work.3

I also wonder if calling Carlos is going to be a thing. She calls the Dazingers as soon as she needs a magical problem solved, but is she going to need Carlos for every climax? I get that she deals in ghosts, but is the necromancer going to be necessary all of the time? I might be more okay with it if the description didn’t always talk about how intimidating he felt,4 but I kind of want to see Harper actually take a climax n her own.

Lastly, let’s talk about Will Novak. He is bland. He is female love interest bland. They seem to be together entirely for the [insert cheesy sex euphemism here] and nothing else. He doesn’t know about her world and doesn’t want to. This is not a good foundation for a relationship. At this point, I’m kind of shipping Harper/Quinton just because they seem to be a better match.

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  1. I was also right, which was awesome. []
  2. This is probably the reason I’ve never really gotten into murder mysteries or cop shows for very long. []
  3. Being on the sixth book now, this does not happen. The whole thing works out really nicely. []
  4. Admittedly necessary []

Greywalker by Kat Richardson

So I have started to binge-read all of the Greywalker series by Kat Richardson based on a friend’s recommendation of the series. I am now on book 5 of it, so I figured I’d go back and go through my thoughts of the previous books as I keep going.

Fair warning, there’s not going to be a lot of recap in these so much as my thoughts about books and elements of the book. If you wanted to know more about what actually happens in them, I do suggest reading them. Or, you know, finding someone who reviews in a much more standard fashion.

The first book in the series has Harper Blaine, our heroine, dying and coming back changed. Now she can see into the Grey and not only can she spot a ghost, they can see her. Also there’s vampires, which is much more important to one of the cases at hand.

This was messy. It’s the first book in the series and there’s a lot to set up, but it’s really messy. Harper is working on two cases that I knew would eventually tie into one another because I have read a novel before, but that connection doesn’t happen until the last 10% of the novel. Up until then, it feels like there’s two separate cases, one of which ends up with its very own romantic subplot spin off that isn’t even related to the case.

The three plots running through this were: Trying to find an old antique for a mysterious client, finding a runaway college student that turns out to be a vampire, and a romance with Will Novak. Besides Will Novak being the least important,1 I’m not sure which takes precedent in this book. The vampire plot line has more to do with the long term arc, but the antique is also given a lot of weight. Like, much more weight than necessary, despite its involvement in the conclusion.

Most of the events are presented as things that happened as opposed to things that lead into one another as well. Because there are two completely separate cases tied together by individual characters, there’s a lot of jumping back and forth between all the plots and there’s never any real parallel between them. One doesn’t present a lead for the other, and there are some scenes that seem to just come out of nowhere, happen, then never get touched on again.2

Harper’s newfound abilities with the Grey are all right. She is pointed to a witch who can help her understand what’s happening to her by a medical doctor, because you know medical doctors are totally into explaining things away with witchcraft, and she doesn’t go through a long process of denying it, which is good. She is frustrated by it frequently, but that doesn’t stop her from believing it’s happening, which is a nice change from some other stories where the protagonist will deny it until they are forced to accept it.

It is nice that the story takes place in a real time and place, though. Seattle feels vivid and like it probably really is.3 I do wonder if that’s hammered in a little too much because she drinks coffee as her only beverage ever,4 but after a while I figured it was a character trait. Harper also uses a pager and has no cell phone, so you know this story probably happens in the early to mid-nineties, which I can still kind of remember.

Overall, it was on the low end of okay. The biggest problem was that it was messy and the twist at the end seemed like it was pulled out of nowhere despite the fact that I know there was build up to it throughout the novel. Everything just felt so disjointed that I couldn’t really put the pieces of the story together until I thought of them as entirely separate stories.

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  1. Because I don’t care []
  2. Until much later. Like, other books later. []
  3. For some reason I’ve never been. It’s not even that far away, so I don’t know why. []
  4. A thing I have never encountered before, but I do know the stereotype about Seattle and their coffee []

I Tried Ingress

There’s a game on the Play Store called Ingress. It’s an augmented reality game that allows you to pick a faction and play a very large game of Capture All The Flags. There are portals all over the place and it’s your job to help your team control all of them. The more in your team’s colours, the more territory they control and the better.

It’s interesting in how it does require you to actually physically move to locations in order to perform actions. You are supposed to go and capture portals at physical locations that are set around some kind of landmark1 and once you’re there, you can actually act upon it.2 I can see it as a neat way to explore a new city.

I wish they’d done more with the narrative, though. There’s an intro telling you that the two factions are trying to control the portals because of Exotic Matter and Shapers and you can either be Enlightened or Resistance3. Green or blue. They really didn’t do much with the narrative from what I could tell, given that after that intro I had one other media file after a week of playing and that was it to enforce the story. Everything else was all about the game play,4 which left me a little disappointed because that felt like a lot of wasted potential.

But that wasn’t my ultimate issue with Ingress.

The real problem I had with it5 is that it completely drains my battery. It is, by far, the heaviest app I have ever had on my phone. With it requiring that your screen be on the whole time and it using data to constantly update your location, it just sucked the life out of my phone. I played mostly on my way to work in the morning and in the hour it took from stepping out the front door to sitting down at my desk in the office, I went from 100% to 18%. That was an hour.

It’s okay as a game. I probably would have continued it casually if it wasn’t such a drain, but when I’m out and in places where I would play it,6 I usually need my phone as, well, a phone. I can’t have it die on me because just one app.

  1. No matter how minor the landmark []
  2. My phone kept jumping me to random spots so I didn’t actually have to go to a lot of them to do anything []
  3. I was Enlightened []
  4. Why not make the fact that you’re on a phone part of the game play? Introduce the paranoia element of the enemy being everywhere and set it in the real world to make the experience more immersive? []
  5. And why I’ve uninstalled it []
  6. Waiting for something, killing time until the next thing I have to do, generally on transit []